Venetian Manhattan

This recipe for a Venetian Manhattan from Russell Norman's 'Venice: Four Seasons of Home Cooking' adds an elegant Italian twist to the classic cocktail.

From the book

Venice: Four Seasons of Home Cooking by
Venice: Four Seasons of Home Cooking
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The classical music concerts that one sees advertised in the churches and concert halls of Venice tend to be touristy affairs with familiar programmes of popular chamber music, sometimes with the musicians dressed in seventeenth-century costume. Not my cup of tea, I’m afraid.

There are, of course, exceptions. I attended a wonderful recital in a small room at the Conservatorio di Musica just off Campo San Stefano. It was effectively a concert of Baroque B-sides. At a reception held afterwards, this delicious variation on a classic Manhattan, using Vecchia Romagna instead of rye whiskey, was served. Additionally, the garnish was an Amarena wild cherry from Modena. It was such a great drink that I quizzed the bartender and made notes of the recipe, which I reproduce here.

Serves 1


15ml sweet vermouth
50ml Vecchia Romagna
Angosturia bitters
1 Amarena cherry (and a few drops of the syrup)

Essential kit

You will need: a cocktail shaker filled with ice, a long-handled bar spoon, and a cocktail glass for serving.


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in the sweet vermouth and the Vecchia Romagna. Add a few splashes of Angostura bitters and ½ teaspoon of Amarena cherry syrup. Using a longhandled bar spoon, stir enthusiastically for 20 seconds, then strain into an elegant cocktail glass. Garnish with a single Amarena cherry, preferably with stalk still attached.

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